June 13, 2024

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Complete Guide To This Historic Pennsylvania City

Complete Guide To This Historic Pennsylvania City

Located on the banks of the Lehigh River, the city of Allentown in the state of Pennsylvania packs plenty of fascinating attractions. These range from a vibrant art and entertainment scene to amusement and nature parks convenient for diverse outdoor activities.

It is the third-largest city in the state after Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, and one of the earliest urban centers in the US. In fact, Allentown is the location where American patriots hid the Liberty Bell to prevent its confiscation by the British at the height of the Revolutionary War. The Liberty Bell Museum stores a replica of the bell and is one of the city’s top touristic attractions.

There are several other museums documenting Allentown’s interesting history in the arts and technological evolution. To add to its charm, the city is located in the Lehigh Valley Region which is a component of the Great Appalachian Valley. Quite like Philadelphia, which offers numerous interesting things to do, Allentown is also a worthy holiday destination in Pennsylvania.

Top Things to Do

Mihai_Andritoiu aerial view of allentown
shutterstock: Mihai_Andritoiu

An aerial view of Allentown, PA

From amusement park activities to appreciating Allentown’s heritage in art centers and museums, there is no shortage of things to do in Pennsylvania, and Allentown is no exception.

13 Have Active Fun At Dorney Park And Wildwater Kingdom

Dorney Park, Allentown
shutterstock: Ritu M. Jethani

Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, PA

This is one of the most sought-after attractions in Pennsylvania and by extension, the US. It features Steel Force, which is the world’s 8th longest steel rollercoaster. Located between Allentown and Emmaus, the facility has more than 60 other rides, six roller coasters, and a water park with activities for both adults and children.

Planet Snoopy is a wholesome entertainment hub for children, with about 16 child-friendly rides which are Peanuts-themed. Furthermore, the Wildwater Park Kingdom features fun-filled waterslides and pools.

The park also provides live entertainment like musical and comedic shows, as well as fun games like arcades. Food services are available at Dorney Park Food.

  • Address:
    Dorney Park, 3830 Dorney Park Rd, Allentown PA 18104

  • Hours:
    These are subject to change and are
    best confirmed online beforehand

  • Cost:
    Daily tickets for individuals start at $39.99. Group admissions cost $34.99 each for 15–99 revelers. One can also buy season passes, which come with varying privileges and costs. The most affordable is the silver pass which goes for $14 per month or a once-off $94 charge.

12 Enthrall And Educate Children At Da Vinci Science Center

log cabin in Trexler Memorial Park
shutterstock: Biz Pic Baby

Log cabin in Trexler Memorial Park, Allentown-PA

This is a science museum that endeavors to promote an interest in science in the Lehigh Valley region through fun, interactive exhibits, and programs.

Leo’s Creativity Studio provides a ‘maker space’ which provides tools and encourages visitors to explore the links between art and science through their imaginations.

Similarly, the Deer Park Water Table allows children to interact with a water-based exhibit, the aim being to teach skills of water recycling and conservation.

There are numerous other interactive exhibits, as well as science camps and programs suitable for visitors of different ages and interests.

Field trips and private birthday parties can be hosted at the center in fun settings, further promoting interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

  • Address:
    3145 Hamilton Blvd. Bypass Allentown, PA 18103

  • Hours:
    Monday to Saturday: 10 am-5 pm; Sunday: 12 pm-5 pm

  • Cost:
    General admission is $12.95 for non-members

11 Take The Kids To America On Wheels Museum

roses outside museum in Allentown
shutterstock: Jennifer Medina 

Roses outside America on Wheels Museum in Allentown, PA

This is spot is pretty popular with K-12 children, as it depicts many fascinating technologies and the history of the transportation industry in the US. The exhibits include vintage vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, and bikes from different eras which are extremely captivating.

Moreover, there are children’s programs that include interactive learning sessions using modified cars to teach aspects of handling and servicing automobiles.

If intending to spike a minor’s interest in automobiles, an appropriately-themed birthday party at this museum is the first step to take.

  • Address:
    5 North Front Street, Allentown, PA 18102

  • Hours:
    Wednesday to Monday: 10 am-4 pm; Sunday: 12 pm-4 pm. These
    hours may vary slightly depending on the season
    . It is also closed during major holidays.

  • Cost:
    General admission: $15. Seniors aged 65+: $10. Students aged 6-16: $8. Children aged 5 and below: Free.

Seniors aged 65+ get free admission on the first Thursday of every month. Children aged 12 and below get free admission on weekends and during the Annual Train Display

10 Appreciate Truck Technologies At Mack Trucks Historical Museum

Bogert's Covered Bridge, Allentown, PA
shutterstock: Bob Pool

Bogert’s Covered Bridge in Allentown, PA

Go on a historical journey of Mack Trucks Company to appreciate the progress and evolution of truck technologies invented and re-engineered through the years.

Truck manufacture records and parts, photos, memorabilia, engineering drawings, and vintage Mack Trucks models are the kinds of exhibits on display here.

The museum is adjacent to the Allentown Queen City Municipal Museum. The Little Lehigh Creek passes just behind it, with the historic Bogert Covered Bridge close by.

  • Address:
    2402 Lehigh Parkway South, Allentown, PA 18103

  • Hours:
    Monday, Wednesday and Friday: 10 am-4 pm

  • Cost:
    Free, but donations of $5 are encouraged

9 Marvel At Diverse Arts At Allentown Art Museum

a lake in a park in Allentown
shutterstock: Helen89

A lake in a park in Allentown, PA

The facility preserves a collection of more than 19,000 works of art, including timeless Baroque and Renaissance pieces. It also doubles up as a regional art institution and has grown to amass diverse artworks from various backgrounds, with some dating as far back as 2,000 years.

Some of its exhibitions include ThePhotography of Larry Fink and Judith Joy Ross which is a timestamp of photographs of various people taken in different eras. The Avatars of the Hindu Gods provides a fascinating peek into the manifestation of Hindi deities in the form of avatar sculptures.

The kind of artworks to be sampled in exhibitions include photographs, textile arts, sculptures, paintings, and design drawings. There is a library designed by Frank Lloyd which was relocated from Minnesota and offers immense insights into the progress of architectural building design in the US.

  • Address:
    31 North Fifth Street Allentown, PA 18101

  • Cost:

  • Hours:
    Thursday to Sunday: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.; Third Thursday: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.

8 Exercise And Relax In Nature At Allentown’s Parks And Gardens

rose garden park, Allentown
unsplash: Luis Rivera

Rose Garden Park in Allentown, PA

Generally, Pennsylvania has many popular and idyllic state parks. In Allentown, there are serene nature parks where visitors can relax, trek, and sightsee in lush greenery.

Allentown Rose Gardens

The location has well-paved walkways that take one through the beautiful rose gardens, small ponds, and a creek, plus other diverse types of flowers.

The gardens, being popular for weddings, have 3 pavilions available for rent and a nice hiking trail. It is a quaint, scenic location for relaxed family outings and picnics where beautiful pictures can be taken.

  • Address:
    3000 Parkway Blvd, Allentown, PA 18104

RELATED: 7 Things To Do In Pittsburgh: Complete Guide To Everything Worth Seeing In The Steel City

Cedar Beach Park

Yet another spot in Allentown features picturesque grassy vegetation, a small lake (Lake Muhlenberg), and sports courts. It is a spot that fitness enthusiasts will find irresistible, with its basketball and volleyball courts, multipurpose exercise trails, and beach volleyball courts.

The Cedar Beach Pool and Destination Playground offer activities ideal for all age groups. In the summer months, entertainment events and festivals are frequently held within the grounds of the park.

  • Address:
    2600 Parkway Blvd, Allentown, PA 18104

Trexler Memorial Park

The park offers well-maintained trails for biking and hiking, breathtaking old trees, as well as grassy spots for some quiet relaxation. Little Cedar Creek passes through it, forming a scenic duck pond somewhere in the middle. Moreover, there is an old cabin and monument onsite which pay tribute to Harry C Trexler who the path is named after.

The path has public bathrooms near the parking lot as well as benches at various spots where people can relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

  • Address:
    155 Springhouse Rd, Allentown, PA 18104

RELATED: 10 Reasons To Visit Pennsylvania’s Longwood Gardens

7 Catch A Sporting Competition Or Concert Entertainment

baseball game in Allentown
shutterstock: Richard Paul Kane

A baseball game at the Coca-Cola Baseball Park, Allentown

One can vary their experience in Allentown by attending concerts or being part of cheering squads in sporting competitions.

Coca-Cola Park

The baseball park is home to Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs which is in the minor baseball league. It accommodates close to 10,000 fans and routinely hosts interesting games. One can conveniently purchase a ticket online to enjoy the next game hosted by Iron Pigs.

  • Address:
    1050 Iron Pigs Way, Allentown, PA 18109

J. Birney Crum Stadium

The multipurpose stadium serves as the home field for three high school football teams in Allentown. Aside from the highly captivating football matches played there, the stadium also hosts other fun events.

These include the Fourth of July fireworks display and various marching arts performances including Drum Corps International events.

  • Address:
    2027 W Linden St, Allentown, PA 18104

Miller Symphony Hall

The hall is a 1,100-capacity performing arts facility which is home to the famed Allentown Symphony Orchestra. Aside from its subscription concerts, the orchestra also has programs featuring various artists, aimed at families and young people.

To experience a jazz, classical, orchestra, or band performance, buy a ticket online early enough.

  • Address:
    23 N. 6th St., Allentown, PA 18101

The Civic Theater of Allentown showcases live theater productions, including those targeting children and families. The non-profit organization also shows international films, mainly documentaries, at a lower cost than commercial cinemas.

6 Best Time To Go

PPL Center
shutterstock: Helen89

PPL Center, Allentown-PA

The city of Allentown is classified as being a hot-summer humid continental climate, with summers being humid, and temperatures easily hitting 87°F and above.

Spring is generally cool, and winters can get cold with light to average snowfall plus the possibility of snowstorms.

The warmest months are June, July, and August, and the chances of precipitation are fairly well-spread throughout the year.

Thus, the best times to visit Allentown fall between the months of May and October. The weather is warm at this time, and one can engage in many outdoor and indoor activities.

Nevertheless, within this period, diverse weather events like muggy conditions in August, and relatively drier days in September are to be expected.

5 Best Ways To Get Around

 Aerial panorama of Allentown, Pennsylvania
shutterstock: Mihai_Andritoiu

Panoramic view of Albertus L. Meyer’s Bridge in Allentown, PA

The main commercial airport serving the city is the Lehigh Valley International Airport which is located in Hanover Township. The airport offers direct travel to cities like Atlanta, Detroit, and Philadelphia as well as some cities in Florida.

The Allentown Queen City Municipal Airport is to the south of the city, and it mainly caters to private aircraft.

The city has not had a working passenger rail service since the 1970s, and public transportation is offered by LANTA buses which serve various routes in Lehigh and Northampton counties.

Getting around is easier using taxi and car rental services which are readily available in the city.

Ride-hailing cabs like Uber and Lyft are also operational in the city, providing additional transportation options.

4 Where To Stay

Downtown City Center Allentown PA by KMcNamara
shutterstock: KMcNamara

A short of Downtown City Center, Allentown-PA

Finding a place to stay in Allentown doesn’t take much effort, as travelers are spoiled for choice.

Renaissance Allentown Hotel

Located in downtown Allentown, this hotel puts guests strategically close to a number of stores, restaurants, and attractions.

It is a walking distance away from the Allentown Art Museum and just next door to PPL Center where one can watch concerts, ice hockey, and other indoor sports tournaments.

  • Address:
    12 N 7th St, Allentown, PA 18101

  • Amenities:
    fitness center, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, onsite restaurant

  • Cost:
    Rooms start at $215

Four Points by Sheraton Allentown Lehigh Valley

The accommodation is located on Hamilton Boulevard, just 2 miles from the Museum of Indian Culture and less than 4 miles from Mack Trucks Historical Museum.

Even better, it is just opposite Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, with the entrance being a walking distance of around 20 minutes.

  • Address:
    3712 Hamilton Blvd, Allentown, PA 18103

  • Amenities:
    indoor pool, fitness center, convenience store, onsite restaurant, meeting space

  • Cost:
    Rooms start above $130

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Allentown

The accommodation is less than 2 miles from Lehigh Valley International Airport in Bethlehem but offers easy access to a number of Allentown’s attractions.

For instance, it is less than 10 miles away from Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom, and just less than 4 from America on Wheels Museum.

  • Address:
    Fairfield Inn & Suites Allentown, Bethlehem/Lehigh Valley Airport
    2140 Motel Drive, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA, 18018

  • Amenities:
    Wi-Fi, fitness center, outdoor pool, onsite restaurant, convenience store

  • Cost:
    Rooms and suites start at $110

Park View Inn and Conference Center

The budget accommodation is located in a serene environment. It is a 9-minute drive to the Allentown Municipal Golf Course and about 12 minutes from several of the urban conveniences of downtown Allentown.

  • Address:
    1151 Bulldog Drive, Allentown, PA 18104

  • Amenities:
    Wi-Fi, outdoor pool, game room, sand volleyball court,

  • Cost:
    From $67 excluding taxes and fees

Red Roof Inn Allentown Airport

The inn is located just off US 22, with easy access to Lehigh Valley International Airport. It is close to a couple of restaurants and convenience stores and is a walking distance away from Cedar Hill Memorial Park.

What’s more, the accommodation makes it easy for visitors to also traverse attractions (like Dutch Springs) in Bethlehem City which is among the most beautiful towns in Pennsylvania.

  • Address:
    1846 Catasauqua Rd, Allentown, PA 18109

  • Amenities:
    Wi-Fi, free parking, onsite restaurant,

  • Cost:
    Rooms start at $80

3 Where To Eat

soppressata sausage
shutterstock: Brian Yarvin

American version of Italian soppressata sausage from Pennsylvania

Allentown offers a good range of dining options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner:

Breakfast Options

The usual American restaurant chains come in handy for those early morning refreshments. In Allentown, they include IHOP, Starbucks, Waffle House, Manhattan Bagel, and McDonald’s.

Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner Options

Some suggestions to try out include:

Youell’s Oyster House

This is the place to head to for some yummy seafood after a day of frolicking at Cedar Beach Park and enjoying views of Lake Muhlenberg.

  • Address:
    2249 W Walnut St, Allentown, PA 18104

  • Hours:
    Monday-Friday: 11:00am-8:30pm. Saturday: 11:00am-9:00pm. Sunday: 11:00am-8:00pm.

  • Cost:
    Main dishes start at $12 per serving

Carrabba’s Italian Grill

The eatery serves homemade Italian delicacies, prepared over a wood fire. Aside from the Italian classics, the dishes are made with diverse protein ingredients including chicken, seafood, beef, and lamb. The restaurant also serves a variety of vegan options.

  • Address:
    510 S Cedar Crest Blvd, Allentown, PA 18103

  • Hours:
    Monday to Saturday: 11 am-10 pm. Sunday: 11 am-9.30 pm.

  • Cost:
    Main dishes start at $12

Union and Finch Food & Drink

The restaurant serves a variety of American tastes and is a short walk from The Historic Benner Mansion. The ambiance is chilled and casual, and diners can get seasonal comfort foods served with outstanding hospitality.

  • Address:
    1528 W Union St, Allentown, PA 18102

  • Hours:
    Tuesday to Thursday: 11 am-9 pm. Friday: 11 am-10pm. Saturday: 10 am-10 pm. Sunday: 10 am-9 pm.

  • Cost:
    Single servings start at $5

Fegley’s Allentown Brew Works

The restaurant and brewery gives diners the opportunity to pair different beers and wines with tasty sandwiches and burgers. The facility also hosts private events like weddings in its chic setting.

  • Address:
    812 W Hamilton St, Allentown, PA 18101

  • Hours:
    Sunday to Thursday: 11 am-midnight. Friday & Saturday: 11 am-2 am.

  • Cost:
    Main dishes start at $11. Beers start at $2.50

Henry’s Salt of the Sea

The seafood eatery serves French-inspired delicacies in a family-friendly atmosphere. One can choose to dine in the smoke-free areas or hop into the full-service bar for beer or wine.

  • Address:
    1926 W Allen St, Allentown, PA 18104

  • Hours:
    Monday to Thursday: 4:30pm-9:00pm. Friday to Saturday: 4:30pm-10:00pm.

  • Cost:
    Specialty dishes start at $37, entrées at $21

2 Tips To Know When Visiting

Lehigh Valley Mall
shutterstock: Helen89

Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall Township, Pennsylvania

  • If looking for outdoor winter sports experiences like
    skiing and snowboarding
    near Allentown, then the Blue Mountain Ski Area in Palmerton in Carbon Country is the place to go. It is about 25 miles from Allentown.
  • In early 2023, there have been reports that Merchants Square Mall where many shoppers flock for assorted merchandise is headed for closure.
  • Alternative shopping malls to check out when in Allentown include South Mall near Emmaus Junction at 3300 Lehigh Street, Allentown, PA 18103
  • One can also venture out to the Lehigh Valley Mall in Whitehall. It is a regional mall that features a lifestyle center and serves Bethlehem, Allentown, and Easton. The address is; 250 Lehigh Valley Mall, Whitehall, PA 18052

RELATED: 10 Things You Can Do Near Hershey, Pennsylvania

1 How To Spend The Perfect Day In Allentown, PA

Planet Snoopy, Allentown
shutterstock: Ritu M. Jethani

Planet Snoopy Section in Dorney Park, Allentown

A well-planned adventure will easily make Allentown one of the best weekend getaways in Pennsylvania. In the morning, head out with the kids to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom for a fun, action-packed outing. Take them through the slides and rides available, taking care to snap pictures of all those memories.

If in the company of young children, Planet Snoopy within the park is not to be missed. In the afternoon, grab a bite at Dorney Park’s food section, taking care to have everyone hydrate sufficiently with cool water.

Later on, head to the Da Vinci Science Center at Cedar Crest for a science-themed visit. Have the children explore the museum and encourage them to interact with the models on display. After an hour or two and depending on how energetic the group still is, decide whether to spend the afternoon relaxing at Trexler Park or to go back to the hotel.

Once done with the day’s exploration, grab takeout Italian delicacies at Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and then head to the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Allentown for the night.


Q: What is special about Allentown, PA?

The most populous city in the Lehigh Valley Region is special for its heritage as among the earliest, modern urban centers in the US. The America on Wheels and Mack Trucks museums are testaments to the city’s technological progress through the years.

The city is also home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, an affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Aside from sports, Allentown is a performing arts entertainment destination, with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra being renowned for its ownership of a performance hall, the Miller Symphony Hall. It is a wholesome, weekend getaway destination in Pennsylvania.

Q: What industry is Allentown, PA known for?

A number of industries are headquartered in Allentown Pennsylvania, including Air Products and Chemicals Inc. as well as PPL Corporation. From 1905 to 2009, Mack Trucks Inc had its headquarters in Allentown before it was shifted to Greensboro North Carolina.

The Mack Trucks Historical Museum still offers reminders of the company’s past presence in Allentown. Just like some of Pittsburgh’s attractions are related to its steel industry, so is Allentown’s charm partly contributed to by some of its economic sectors.

Q: Does Allentown get a lot of snow?

With its humid continental climate, winters in Allentown tend to vary from fairly cool to cold, with temperatures sometimes dipping below freezing, especially in January. While snowfall is to be expected in the city, the amount varies from year to year.

Snowstorms are rare but do occur, and freezing rain and sleet are occasionally experienced. While Allentown itself may not offer winter sports activities, the Poconos Mountains locality has plenty of activities including ice and snow adventures. It is about 50 miles to the north of Allentown.